By GRACE GADDY
J is for joy — the joy of new life — and for Jayla Suzanne Pitts, the first baby born in Anderson County in 2014.
Proud parents Jeanie and Justin Pitts weren't expecting their latest addition until Monday, but Jayla — who arrives as the fourth child in a family whose names all begin with J — had other plans.
Her mother went into labor at 6:30 a.m. on New Year's Day and Jayla was born at 2 p.m. “on the dot,” according to her father. She weighed in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces and was 19 ¾ inches long.
As a tradition for the first baby of the year, Palestine Regional Medical Center provided gifts to the family, which included a basket of goodies such as a stuffed elephant and tiny socks, a $500 gift card to Walmart and a gift certificate for a mommy massage at Jamie's Therapeutic Touch Day Spa.
“I think it's really exciting,” Jeanie said of her baby being the first of the new year. “She was starting our New Year's Day off right.”
As with her past three deliveries, Jeanie chose not to have an epidural. After being in labor for several hours, she was given Pitocin to speed up delivery.
Justin said he was surprised they welcomed the first baby of 2014, as well as the fact this was a “she.”
“It's hard to believe she's a girl,” he said with a laugh, after three boys.
The Elkhart residents said they'd had the name “Jayla” picked out for a girl's name years ago, when expecting their first child, Jayden, who is now 6. Jayden, brother to Jayce, 4, and Jaycob, 1, said he thought their new sister was “cute.”
The siblings welcomed Jayla into the world as they all gathered in the hospital room, happy and smiling. Although Jaycob was a little disappointed to lose his bedroom to baby Jayla, he was happy too. Justin said they'd made the room “nice and girly” for the sixth addition to their family — painting the walls a fresh light purple with hanging flowers and butterflies. Jayla's name, he added, is displayed in large decorative letters on the wall.
Justin is employed by McCurdy Services and is an Elkhart volunteer firefighter.
The Pitts family has had all four children through PRMC. Dr. Stephen Bates delivered the baby.